Misha Ali - Founder of Behenchara Magazine
Misha Ali along with her friend and fellow Editor-In-Chief Alina Anjum Ahmed, have launched a magazine for Pakistani womxn, by the name of ‘Behenchara’. ‘Behenchara’ is a female spin of the Urdu word ‘Bhaichara’ – which translates to brotherhood. So ‘Behenchara’, which unfortunately is not a real word you might find in the Urdu dictionary, translates to ‘sisterhood’.
The minute the idea of such a magazine popped into Misha’s mind, she didn’t have to think too much to come up with this name. Quite honestly, she says it made its way into her head almost like a revelation. And it blends perfectly with her partner, Alina’s, outlook. She believes in creating safe spaces for woman particularly because they are so important and needed in these difficult times.
Behenchara Magazine is a Pakistani feminist e- magazine that follows themes of intersectional feminism and provides a space of expression for Pakistani women. The magazine is divided into sections, namely: Articles/contributions, Opinion, Interviews, and an Advice Column. Their goal, as it grows, is to add more sections that cover an even wider range of topics and concerns.
The idea of this magazine was inspired by Rookie, which was an American publication for teens by teens. While skimming through its old archives, the founder suddenly recognized the need and importance of a similar magazine, but more nationalized to Pakistan and for an older audience.
Misha believes that there really isn’t such a space available for womxn in Pakistan. By saying that, neither her nor Alina mean that there is no form of expression other than their magainze in their country, but that there isn’t such a space that is solely centered on feminist expression.
If a womxn here wants to write about feminism or absolutely anything that falls under the umbrella term of feminism, they aren’t left with many places they can send their writings/expressions to. Misha and Alina aim to create just that. Sort of like a New Yorker, but smaller, and Pakistani, and feminist, and intersectional.
Misha in fact finds herself tongue tied when asked to describe Behenchara. Words are muffled and explanations seem to crash at the back of her throat, she says. Almost as if its purpose is lost in translation. But she is fairly certain that she doesn’t need to describe it to their audience. They know exactly what it is, what it stands for. That’s the beauty of the act of Behenchara, she believes. The womxn of Pakistan understand without the allotment of any verbal expression and definitions. It’s an unsaid understanding. And her dear and darling target audience, that is reading this, is well aware of the purpose and need of such a medium.
As Alina stated, with Behenchara magazine, they can reach out to a much wider audience and create a similar safe space online; one that reaches out to women of all kinds across the country and helps them realize that their stories, opinions, questions, and truths matter. Misha dearly and sincerely hopes they also know that this stage that they have set up is for them to take and perform on. In her own words: “Take it away, ladies”.
Misha and Alina have put together a remarkable publication. We strongly encourage you to check it out and their social accounts below. We thank them for their story, and most importantly, for what they are doing for the womxn of Pakistan!
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